Category Archives: The Front Office

Team of Destiny? KC up 2-0; SF goes up 1-0.

I’m starting to wonder if KC is a team of destiny for this postseason. They won their sixth straight postseason game, doing it late like usual, albeit in regulation, not in extras this time. (Four of their six postseason wins have come in extra innings). They scored two in the top of the ninth to break a 4-4 tie and win 6-4 on Saturday. They go home up 2 games to none in the ALCS, winning both games in Baltimore.

Meanwhile the NLCS, the visiting San Francisco Giants shut out the St. Louis Cardinals 3-0 in Game 1 last night.

Good move in Cashman telling A-Rod to prepare for reps at 1B in spring training. I’m not a fan at all of A-Rod’s return, but since he’ll be 40 next July, missed all of 2014 and all but 44 games in 2013, also is coming off two hip surgeries, you wonder about EVERYTHING with him. Offense, defense, baserunning. There is no guarantee he can hit, handle 3B, etc. But the Yanks didn’t have a legit 1B backup for the fragile Teixeira last year. Kelly Johnson, moving a C to 1B (McCann/Cervelli), even sometimes putting Brendan Ryan there… not answers. At least with A-Rod you would have an experienced infielder… and hopefully power-hitting 1B, playing 1B when Teix can’t.  It beats what was attempted last year, when there was no legitimate backup to 1B.

Turning to college football, this PSU grad has to say that so far he isn’t too impressed with the new coaching staff at his alma mater. I’m not thrilled with some of the play calling this season, there isn’t a running game, for some reason big bull Zach Zwinak appears to be underutilized (the big boy may not be quick or gain too much yards/carry, but he may be able to wear down the opposition in the 4th quarter if used more often earlier in the game) and the O-line has serious issues.

Cashman returns, but not Long or Kelleher

The Yanks signed GM Brian Cashman to a new 3-yr. deal today, but let go of hitting coach Kevin Long and 1B/Infield coach Mick Kelleher.

Wild cards set.

So now the one-game wild cards are set. KC defeated the A’s in a thrilling 12-inning affair Tuesday night and will face the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (I hate that. Call them the California Angels, Anaheim Angels, whatever, but shorten it) in one ALDS. The other ALDS has the Detroit Tigers playing the Baltimore Orioles.

It was quite a fall for Oakland, who started the year strong but barely held on to make the wild card game. In that game, the Oakland A’s took a 7-3 lead into the bottom of the 8th but gave up 3 in the 8th and one in the 9th to the Kansas City Royals. The A’s got a run in the top of the 12th but the Royals came back with two in the bottom of the inning to win the game 9-8.

It was a battle between one team (the A’s) who used to be in KC (1955-1967) vs. another team who is there (Royals, 1969-   ). It was the Royals’ first postseason game since winning the 1985 World Series.

In the NL wild card game, it was no contest. Madison Baumgarner threw a 4-hit shutout and the San Francisco Giants beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-0. Brandon Crawford became the first SS ever to hit a grand slam in a postseason game.

The Giants now face the Washington Nationals in one NLDS while the other will have the St. Louis Cardinals facing the Los Angeles Dodgers.

As for the Yankees, they are currently in discussions with GM Brian Cashman about a new contract. Carlos Beltran had surgery to remove that bone spur in his right elbow that plagued him this year.

Game 149. Yanks’ offense disappoints again in 1-0 loss.

This has been the story of the Yankees’ season in 2014—a good pitching performance sabotaged by an underperforming, often non-existent offense. The OPS+ is 94, the ERA + 104. That more or less tells you a lot. (100 is average, the higher the better).

Tampa Bay scored with two out in the bottom of the 9th to beat the Yanks 1-0 Monday night.

Last time out, Chris Capuano only got one out. This time, he pitched six shutout, two-hit innings in lowering his overall ERA to 4.55. 6 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 4 walks and 4 K.

Adam Warren pitched two scoreless innings, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks, 1 K, 3.21.

Shawn Kelley (L, 3-6, 4.20) took the loss. 2/3 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 1 walk and 1 K.

The Yanks got just six hits in the game. Derek Jeter, 0 for his last 24, was given the day off.

With the loss, and Baltimore’s win, the inevitable finally happened, the Yanks were eliminated from winning the division. As far as that final playoff spot goes, they are now six back with 13 to go and must jump over four teams to do so.  Although not mathematically eliminated yet, you can stick a fork in them. Just being realistic, here.

At 76-73, it is looking more and more likely that the Yanks won’t match last year’s record of 85-77, and will wind up with their worst season since 1992, which was their last season under .500. They have to win six of the remaining 13 games to finish above .500.

If they can get hot, they could pass Toronto (and yes, the Yanks do have games left against the Blue Jays) for second place in the division. Small consolation, since the second place won’t come with a wild card berth.

In related news, Mark Newman is stepping down as Farm Director, and Masahiro Tanaka threw five innings in instructional league. Tanaka may be back this weekend.

Game 148. Robertson can’t hold lead, Yanks lose 3-2.

David Robertson threw 35 pitches on Friday in one of the doubleheader games. He threw 11 Saturday in saving that game. He was brought in yesterday to save a 2-1 Yankees lead in the 9th.

You just knew what was going to happen. Robertson had nothing, gave up two runs and the Yanks lost 3-2.

On the ESPN telecast, the announcers basically said that to them, it appeared that the Yanks were basically saying “you are a free agent, we aren’t going to re-sign you, so we’ll just run you into the ground.”

Seriously, there was no one else Girardi could have brought in to get three outs? Robertson for a third straight day?

Martin Prado homered in the second, his 12th overall HR of the year, to give the Yanks a 1-0 lead. Baltimore tied it in the sixth.

Brian McCann put the Yanks up 2-1 in the top of the 9th with his 20th HR of the year.

But then Robertson gave up doubles to Nelson Cruz, Steve Pearce to tie it (and see my recent post “You were saying” about Pearce, a one-time Yankee), and after a fly out, a double to Kelly Johnson (remember him? Yup, that Kelly Johnson from the Yanks earlier this year) to win it.

Kuroda went 7, 1 R, 6 H, 0 walks and 5 K. 3.81. Too bad the Yanks, like usual for this year, didn’t give any run support to a starter who pitched well.

Betances 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 2 K. 1.35. His 2 K tied Mariano Rivera’s record of 130 K in a season by a Yankees’ reliever. It looks more and more like he will be the closer next year and the Yanks will let Robertson leave via free agency and take the money saved to shore up other needs. This year’s first-round draft pick, Jacob Lindgren, may wind up being the set-up man. We’ll see what happens this winter.

Robertson 1/3 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 0 walks and 0 k. He falls to 2-5, 2.93.

The Yanks fall to 76-72. They remain in third place, 12 1/2 behind first-place Baltimore in the AL East with 14 to go. They are one game behind second-place Toronto. The Orioles’ magic # for eliminating the Yanks from the division title is down to two. As far as that final playoff spot is concerned, the Yanks are five out with 14 to go and would have to jump over four teams to get there.

The Yanks finished 85-77 last year. They would need to go 9-5 in their last 14 games just to meet that mark this year. That’s what has been disappointing. They had a lot of injuries last year (Jeter and Teix both missed most of the year), and with the free agent signings of Beltran, McCann, Ellsbury and Tanaka, you thought the record would be better, or at least the same—not worse. Yes, there have been injuries this year, but still, it’s been disappointing.

Derek Jeter went 0 for 4. He is now 0 for his last 24 and down to .250 (actually, .249534, which is rounded up to .250). He did hit a couple of balls well last night, but no luck. His OPS+ is down to 70 and he’s hitting .172 since August 2nd. It makes you wish the season, and his career, were over already.

It’s not like you want Jeter’s career to be over, and yes, you’d like for a miracle to happen and for the Yanks to make the playoffs (isn’t happening) but you just don’t want Jeter to go on to the end like this. Another point fell off the lifetime batting average. He started this year at .312, and it’s down to .309.

There are 14 games to go, and how many Jeter plays in we don’t know. You’d hate to see him below .250 or even .240. You’d hate to see another point drop off that lifetime batting average.

You hope he has one or two multi-hit games left in him.

But does he?

Game 138. Yanks blast Boston in 9th, comeback to win 5-4.

Down 4-3 entering the bottom of the 9th, the Yanks got a game-tying HR from Mark Teixeira and one out later, a game-winning HR from Chase Headley to defeat Boston 5-4 Thursday night.

The win keeps the Yanks in 2nd place in the AL East, 9 1/2 back of Baltimore. More importantly, it keeps the 72-66 Yankees four back of the second wild-card slot with 24 games to go.

Chris Capuano started for the Yanks and gave up a solo HR to David Ortiz in the first and a 2-run to him in the third, putting the Yanks in a 3-0 hole.

Derek Jeter got a 2-run double (career hit #3448) in the third to cut the gap to 3-2, and Jeter scored on a single by Carlos Beltran to tie the game.

Capuano gave up a HR to Brock Holt in the fifth to put Boston up 4-3.

Capuano went 4 1/3, 4 R, 6 H, 1 walk and 2 K. Overall ERA 4.46.

Rich Hill 1 /3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 1 K. Overall ERA 2.70.

Esmiel Rogers 1 2/3, 0 R, 1 H, 0 walks and 1 K. Overall ERA 4.89.

Josh Outman 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 0 K. Overall ERA 3.24.

Shawn Kelley 1 1/3, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 2 K. 4.37.

Adam Warren (W, 3-5, 3.24) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks, 0 K.

As you can see, the Yanks’ bullpen, with many members not with the team at the beginning of the year, did the job. After Capuano left, they went 4 2/3, 0 R, and just one hit.

They set the stage for the heroics by Teixeira (HR #21, career HR #362, passing Joe DiMaggio on the all-time HR list) and Headley (his 11th overall HR [SD/NYY] ) in the bottom of the ninth.

Word is that the Yanks will be offering GM Brian Cashman an extension at the end of the season. Cashman’s contract expires after this season.

Game 119. Yanks lose 4th straight, 5-3.

This was a killer. The Yanks’ offense didn’t do much, but they still had a 2-1 lead entering the bottom of the 8th down in Baltimore. Dellin Betances was on the mound, and he’s been great all year.

But it was Betances’ third inning of work, a move that may have deeper complications, such as lost confidence in Warren or Whitley, both of whom have been struggling mightily lately, overwork of some members of the bullpen (especially because, with the lack of offense, there have been so many close games) or desperation.

Betances gave up a game-tying HR, then Shawn Kelley blew the game by giving up a 3-run HR in the same inning as the Yanks lost 5-3.

Forget the division. The loss puts the Yanks 8 behind Baltimore with 43 games to go. Only a drastic change and torrid hot streak by the Yanks and collapse by Baltimore will enable the Yanks to catch the Orioles. It looks like Baltimore will be the AL East champs. Getting tougher for the Yankees is trying to gain that second wild-card spot. At 61-58, the Yanks are 3 1/2 behind co-leaders Detroit and Seattle for that final playoff spot. Toronto is just ahead of the Yanks, 3 back. So the Yanks need to get hot and do some leap-frogging.

Francisco Cervelli gave the Yanks a 2-0 lead with his 2nd HR of the season in the third inning.

Michael Pineda, making his first appearance in almost four months after the pine-tar incident and injury, pitched very well, giving up just one run in the fifth inning. 5 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 walks and 4 K. In his five starts this year, his ERA is 1.82, but his record remains at 2-2, a sign of the Yanks’ lack of support. It also shows Pineda’s talent if he is ever healthy and his head is screwed on straight (no pine-tar stupidity).L

In the bottom of the 8th, Jonathan Schoop proved to be a Yankee-killer again. His 11th HR of the season tied the game. It’s his 4th against the Yankees this year, one against Betances, and two against Tanaka. Go figure.

The Yanks got a run in the top of the 9th on an RBI groundout and got the tying run to the plate, but to no avail.

Betances 2 1/3, 1 R, 2 H, 0 walks and 4 K. 1.52.

Later in that same inning Shawn Kelley gave up a three-run HR to Adam Jones. That was the game.

Kelley (L, 2-4, 4.74) 2/3 IP, 3 R, 2 H, 1 walk, 0 K.

To make room for Pineda, the Yanks let Chris LeRoux go. You could see that coming when LeRoux was brought up a couple of days ago and Bryan Mitchell was sent down.

Brian McCann should be back on Saturday. Hiroki Kuroda will pitch Sunday.

The Yanks are off today (Thursday).

Earlier in the day, Hal Steinbrenner commented on the disappointing offense (after all, he shelled out big bucks to bring in Ellsbury, McCann and Beltran) and refused to comment on GM Brian Cashman, who is a free agent after the season. Personally, I don’t blame Cashman. He brought in players with track records. Although Ellsbury has done OK (and truthfully, he shouldn’t be batting third, but…) McCann and Beltran have been disappointing and others who are gone didn’t play to former potential (Soriano, Roberts). Hal also said he expects A-Rod to rejoin the Yanks in 2015. That is something I’m not looking forward to. Alex’ talents have gone down in the last few years, he will be 40 in July 2015 and after a year off, who knows what he’ll have left. Not to mention the circus and baggage there will be…